"Polyamorous, Pansexual, and Proud: Why I'm 'So Out and Outspoken' "
Gaby Dunn is a Los Angeles comedian, does part-time writing/directing for Buzzfeed Video, and runs a YouTube comedy show called Just Between Us. She's been a newspaper crime reporter and an intern at The Daily Show. And she's totally out as a role model for poly designer relationships. You may remember her from this:
Meanwhile, Women's Health is an old-style print magazine that lives at the grocery-store checkout line. It's published by Rodale and has a circulation of 1.5 million. It says it "features a celebrity each month that exudes the lifestyle of a healthy, active woman."
Polyamorous, Pansexual, and Proud: Why I'm 'So Out and Outspoken'
Photo by Marvin Lemus
Actress and writer Gaby Dunn breaks down her identity, and opens up about the judgement she faces.
By Gaby Dunn
A few months ago, I went to “gay brunch” with some lesbian friends in West Hollywood. I wore a little pink sundress, my hair down and curled. A couple hours later, I left my friends at The Abbey (a gay bar in L.A.), to meet my boyfriend. After dinner, he and I texted my friends, wanting to meet up again. In between the two events, I’d changed clothes, and now I was wearing shorts, a backwards snap-back hat, a flannel, and sneakers.
“How is it you left gay brunch this morning looking so straight, and came back with a guy, looking so gay?” one of my friends asked....
I am open to dating across the gender spectrum, including trans people, agender people, etc., so though I’ve identified as “bisexual” for most of my life, I am actually “pansexual.” (Thank you, Internet, for helping me learn a new word.)
...I also prefer polyamorous relationships. For me, polyamory means I have a primary partner who is my priority and then other partners depending on if I like someone and they like me. Sometimes that third person is also sleeping with my primary partner. Sometimes they are not. Sometimes my partner has someone else they’re seeing. Sometimes they don’t. It’s an open relationship, and coincidentally, because I am pansexual, it is sometimes with a man, but most often with women.
I have had a boyfriend for a little over a year now. He is cis and straight — which means when the doctors assigned him male at birth, they were 100 percent correct.... Almost all of my close friends are women, and almost all of those are queer-identified. When I had girlfriends, I could bring them into my friend group seamlessly.... But now I’ve got this kind, sweet, smart dude around. I still date within our gay community, but I come with a boy-shaped anchor. ["Anchor relationship" is becoming a poly-world alternative to "primary relationship."] Most of my friends have become friends of his, too. However, some have dropped off, confused as to why “all the lesbians around here fuck men.”
Just this weekend, a friend said, "Isn't it great we're all gay?" And then looked at me and said, "kind of." It hurt. It hurt because it’s the erasure of the very real fluidity of sexuality that a lot of queer people experience. It makes me feel like my relationships aren't valid or meaningful, or that I've offended "my people" by falling in love with a straight guy....
This confusion over my identity doesn't just happen with my friends. It also happens in little and big moments all throughout my daily life....
So when I am dating a guy, my life as a "straight girl" is pretty, well, straight. My boyfriends’ families judge me on my merits and not on their opinions of homosexuality. The waiter at the restaurant hands him the check.... My boyfriend and I are smiled at by old people on the street while holding hands, and I get chairs pulled out and doors opened for me.
Life is a lot different when people assume I'm a lesbian....
...If I shout from the rooftops about being queer, people will have to get it, right? I have the luxury of making a video all about my coming out process.... It’s a story I’ve told in a lot in different mediums, but I wasn’t always brave enough to do so when I was a kid (I went to a religious high school and I remember having regular anxiety attacks where I imagined everyone in the hallway looking at me and knowing I was gay).
Then, a month ago, I sat with an old classmate, an out lesbian herself now, and told the entire YouTube community about those paranoid hallucinations. I could not have predicted that I’d have the confidence to do that when I was a teenager. It's amazing how much can change over time....
Read her whole article (January 7, 2016).
Update Jan. 15: She posts a followup vlog talking about the article: "Polyamory, Pansexuality, Published" (7:05):